Former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke has stated that Governor Ben Ayade deserves a Nobel Prize for his industrialization exploits.
Speaking with newsmen in Calabar shortly after a tour of factories at the Ayade Industrial Park, the former governor, who said he was stunned by the amazing industrialization feats of Ayade, and wondered how the governor was able to record such feat in spite of the state’s huge debt profile.
“I know the debt profile of the state, the income and investment that are required here. Actually, I am very impressed and I want to encourage him (Ayade) because if he succeeds, all of us will succeed and if he doesn’t succeed, all of us have not succeeded, but we must ensure that our leaders succeed because we are the beneficiaries of that success,” Duke noted.
Speaking on the rice seeds and seedlings factory, the former governor said it is a facility that can enable the entire West Africa sub-region to be self-sufficient in rice.
“If that was all Ayade did, he has every right to beat his chest. If all he did was to ensure that the entire sub-region of West Africa is self-sustaining in rice production, he will deserve a Nobel Prize for that.”
Duke who wondered how the incumbent governor was able to perform what he termed the financial magic to establish industries in almost every local government area,maintained that the rice seedlings facility “will make Cross River by far the largest producer of rice in the entire West Africa, as the state has land which is arable, so, we need to get our citizens into rice production. My encouragement is just keep on doing it, don’t stop.”
“How are you funding all these projects? I have a good idea of the state resources and it doesn’t add up, so there is something you (Ayade) are doing that we don’t know.”
While describing the factories as amazing, Duke noted that there is a pharmaceutical company, Noodles factory, power plant, among others with a lot of work put in place which has brought spread.
“So Ayade deserves kudos for these. There is always cynicism and criticism of government, but let’s call a spade a spade, there is no amount of money that a state generates that can sustain what you (Ayade) have done here.”
In his response, Ayade thanked Duke for his kind words, noting it is a call to do more.
“The only people who can criticise me are Governors Duke and Imoke, because they have sat there, they feel it and know it.”
“Like Duke said, he knows the income and challenges of the state and knows that the income cannot do the much we have done. I want to thank Duke for his time, energy, commitment and goodwill towards the state.”